James Scott

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The Art of NOT Being Governed

James Scott argues that people lived in rural societies to escape the slavery of the states Time 3:15

The Art

James Scott short interview concerning his book "The Art of Not Being Governed" Time 18:09

Professor Scott suggests that many people and cultures lived in a way to avoid being dominated by the civilized State. In many cases they had been a part of such states but Departed from those states to avoid the detrimental aspects of such systems.

The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia is a book-length anthropological and historical study of the Zomia highlands of Southeast Asia written by James C. Scott.

For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the nation state societies that surround them—slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an “anarchist history,” is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on nation-building whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless.

Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states.

Scott admits to making "bold claims" in his book but credits many other scholars, including the French anthropologist Pierre Clastres and the American historian Owen Lattimore, as influences.

The Question

James Scott on the topic of "The Art of Not Being Governed" Time 1:34:20

Someone on the Africa Network group shared a video of James Scott who wrote the book "The Art of Not Being Governed"

I found much of his observation of great interest from a Biblical point of view and created this webpage James Scott.

James Scott has looked at some remote societies that chose to be free rather than comfortable or pursue the promised comfort of the organized state. Abraham departed the city-state of Ur to form an Intentional Community and did so with his Altars of Living stones. Moses left the state of Egypt to form a free state with no top-down exercising authority where every man was king in his own home. Christ started an Intentional Community when he appointed a kingdom to His Apostles where there were no benefactors who could exercise authority. However the people lived by faith, hope and charity and the perfect law of liberty with lively stones forming living Altars of social welfare.

The Christian conflict was also mostly about not participating in the state religion which consisted of the Covetous Practices of state sponsored Corban which is so popular with Modern Christians. Early Christians and Early Israel, the Teutons, Saxons, Lumbards, Franks, and many others societies were all organized by the tens.

We will spend more time talking on some of this subject on the broadcasts because it is about the nature of the intentional communities that came out of the bondage of the corrupt states of the world and since it supports the "Deported vs Departed" chapter of The Covenants of the gods. http://www.preparingyou.com/wiki/Departed.

James Scott's basic premise is that many of the hill people or forest people that did not live in cities had removed themselves to these remote areas because they hated and feared the cities or living in them.

They preferred to be "free in the forest".

I noted for instance, at 1:02:06 in to the longer video Professor Brian begins to ask a question and states.

"There's good things and bad things about living under a state regime. I know we all hate it especially in April. But there are certain benefits for examples someone is willing to extract resources from one group and spend it, for example, teaching kids to read."
"We all probably were educated by the state. ...the cost of living in the state are bad enough that we are going to flee."

He goes on to suggest that the loss of "living in the state" means the loss of the ability to read.

The idea that the state and the covetous practice of taking from your neighbor to obtain benefits like being taught to read by Public Education is the only way society learns to read is an ignorant assumption.

Learning to read can be done without a more severe hidden cost of using force to extract the resources required from your neighbor. That cost is the loss of Social Virtues. Taking from your neighbor to get what you want even if done by a third party we call government undermines, or under-minds, the moral integrity of society.

Free societies require virtue to survive. They require a willingness to sacrifice for others, to give and forgive, to serve society with nothing but hope of reciprocation in your own time of need. This is the practice of virtue between parent and child, neighbor and neighbor and even between you and the stranger in your midst from generation to generation. It is the loss of the social virtue that precedes the loss of freedom and also the coveting of your neighbors goods is the loss of virtue.

The amazing thing is that Professor Brian asked his question as if the covetous practice of taking from your neighbor to provide benefits is one of the virtues of society while in fact it is the central point that destroys all societies.

Repenting is a the changing of your mind from covetous men and women to the mind of Christ who came to serve and even die in that service.




About James

James Scott on Food sovereignty A critical dialogue. Organized by the Yale University Agrarian Studies Program and The Journal of Peasant Studies in collaboration with Food First, Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies/International Institute of Social Studies (The Hague), Transnational Institute (Amsterdam), the Yale Sustainable Food Project, and Yale South Asian Studies, with support from Kempf Fund. Time 11 min

James Scott is the distinguished Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology and is Director of the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University.

The author of several books, such as Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed; The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia; Domination and the Arts of Resistance; and Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Scott is recognized worldwide as an authority on Southeast Asian, peasant, and agrarian studies.

His research concerns political economy, comparative agrarian societies, theories of hegemony and resistance, peasant politics, revolution, Southeast Asia, theories of class relations and anarchism. He is currently teaching Agrarian Studies and Rebellion, Resistance and Repression.

Scott is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has held grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Science, Science, Technology and Society Program at M.I.T., and the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He received his bachelor's degree from Williams College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

The lecture is sponsored by the UNE Department of Political Science and the Student Club "People of Politics."

Similar Research

From the 1600s to the Civil War, The Great Dismal Swamp served as a place for Native Americans, fugitive slaves, and probably some whites escaping indentured servitude to remove themselves completely from the United States. Unfortunately the researcher's infatuation with Marxism may be blocking him understanding the anarchic governance model of the maroons who built lives in the swamp.

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